Boone sprung up from the floor and said, “I’ll give you guys some time alone.”
As he walked toward the door, Boone reached out and squeezed Liam’s shoulder. “Let me know if you need anything,” he said with a nod.
As always, his brother was proving he was a strong support system to lean on during tough times. Once Boone had closed the door behind him, Liam went and sat on Aidan’s bed. He patted the spot beside him and said, “Come on over and sit down, A-man. We need to talk something out.”
Aidan joined him on the bed and peered up at him, a curious expression etched on his face. “What is it, Daddy? Did I do something wrong?”
“Absolutely not,” Liam said, reaching out and tweaking his nose. “You’re the bee’s knees as far as I’m concerned. You’re the best son on the planet.”
“The planet? Whoa!” Aidan said in a raised voice. “That’s cool.”
“You’re my best buddy. We’ve been through a lot since we lost your mother.”
Aidan made a sad face. He let out a little sigh and bowed his head.
“I know it’s been hard not having a mom.” Liam placed his arm around Aidan’s shoulder and squeezed.
“I wish I could remember her more,” Aidan said in a soft voice. “I like looking at her face in the album. It helps me make a picture of her in my mind.”
Aidan’s words went straight to his heart, as they always did whenever he talked about his mother. How would he ever find the right words to tell him she was alive? How could a little boy even begin to process the information?
“Aidan. Something has happened. It changes everything for us.” Aidan looked up at him with wide eyes. “It’s something good. Spectacular, really.”
Aidan rubbed his hands together. “Oh, I love great surprises.”
“Do you remember what I told you happened to Mommy? On the mountain?”
“Yes,” Aidan said in a solemn voice. “She was being a hero and snow came and swallowed her up.”
“Pretty much,” Liam said, biting back a smirk. “Sometimes things aren’t what they seem. We thought Mommy died on that mountain, A-man. But I found out today that she didn’t.”
“She didn’t?” Aidan asked, his mouth hanging open in shock.
“No, she didn’t,” he answered, blinking away the tears blurring his vision. “She hit her head and she was really sick for a long time. And she’s here, right out there in the living room.”
“No way!” Aidan said, jumping up from the bed. “Can I see her? Can I? Can I?”
Liam couldn’t help but grin at Aidan’s unbridled enthusiasm. Even though things were far from perfect with regard to Ruby’s return, his son’s innocent take on the situation made him feel on top of the world. He had received the news just as Liam had prayed he would...joyfully.
“There’s something else I have to tell you before you see her... When she hit her head, she lost her memory. So, she’s still the same mommy, but she’s going to have to get to know us all over again,” Liam explained.
Aidan’s face fell. He stuck his lip out. Tears welled in his eyes.
“Hey, buddy. What’s wrong? Just smiles today. No tears, okay?”
“I just feel sad that she lost her memories,” Aidan said. “That means she doesn’t remember the day I was born or getting married to you. And she won’t know my favorite color or the foods I like to eat.” He bowed his head and focused on the carpet.
Liam reached out and lifted Aidan’s chin. “But here’s the thing. Since you’re getting to be such a big boy, I have a huge job for you. I’m counting on you to tell your mother all about the things that matter most to you. The name of your turtle. Your favorite toy. How you like reindeer pizza better than anything else in this world.” He held out his hand. “If you’re up to the mission, let’s shake on it.”
Aidan shook his father’s hand. “I can do it. I’m going to be five soon. That means I’m getting so big.”
His chest was almost about to explode with love for this boy. There were certain moments he wished he could just capture in a bottle for all time. This was one of them.
It was time to make new memories. With Ruby. “How about we go out there and get you reacquainted with your mom?”
Aidan nodded his head enthusiastically. Before Liam could stop him, he raced toward the door and pulled it open. His son tended to lead with his heart in all things. A part of him wanted to wrap Aidan up in his arms to protect him from the inevitable hurts life would bring him.
Liam took a deep breath. He knew instinctively that the road ahead was going to be difficult. God had blessed his family today with the return of Ruby. But there were still so many unanswered questions, so many potential roadblocks in the future. This wasn’t going to be a cakewalk by any means. He bent his head and prayed.